Category: Matchless

Grand Prix Single: 1962 Matchless G50 for Sale

1962 Matchless G50 R Side Front

Possibly less well known than the incredibly long-lived Norton Manx, the Matchless G50 was a beautifully simple Grand Prix race bike that used lightness and simplicity to great advantage, as seen in the photos of this bike that clearly show the magnesium engine cases.

1962 Matchless G50 L Side

The 496cc chain-driven SOHC air-cooled single was connected to a four-speed gearbox and could push the 320lb bike to a top speed of 135mph. Supposedly named for the 50bhp it made at the rear wheel, the Matchless G50 was a direct competitor of the Norton Manx and, although it made less power, it was 30lbs lighter, making it that bike’s equal on tighter tracks… Unfortunately, the G50’s career was much shorter, with just 180 built in total between 1958 and 1963.

1962 Matchless G50 Dash

If you want one and you’re not particularly bothered by originality, near-perfect replicas are still being built by folks like Colin Seely, although with modern tolerances and production methods and often with higher-spec internals. They’re pricey for sure, but you won’t have to worry about finding someone willing to sell you a real G50, or be concerned about crashing a piece of history.

1962 Matchless G50 R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1962 Matchless G50 Factory Racer for Sale

500cc Single Cylinder, with magnesium cases, Amal GP carburetor, correct front and rear brakes, older restoration on a very correct and unmolested factory racer. This motorcycle has been on static display in a private collection for many years. A full inspection and a new set of tires will be required prior to returning to competion use. The 1962 was the last year model for the Matchless G50 and is the most collectable and desirable of all years. Selling on a bill of sale.

1962 Matchless G50 Engine Detail2

The bike’s $62,750.00 Buy It Now price might seem pretty shocking, but Bonhams sold one in 2013 that went for just a shade under $60k so I’d expect this is right on the money for a genuine GP racer from the golden age of the British biking industry. It’s certainly an amazing machine, and would make a stunning vintage racer or display piece.

-tad

1962 Matchless G50 R Side

1962 Matchless G50

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The British motorcycle industry has had its trying times, and because of this, there were occasions of competitors becoming partners. This was the case for AJS and Matchless, two companies with their own racing history, joining forces to stave off extinction. It didn’t work, but this 1962 Matchless G50 is what is left behind for us to enjoy.

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From the seller

1962 Matchless G50 500cc Factory Racer

500cc Single cylinder factory racer with magnesium cases. This motorcycle sports an older restoration and it has been on static display in a private collection. Full service will be required prior to returning competion use. Very rare and desirable post war British racer.

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Matchless had purchased AJS, and other manufactures just before the outbreak of war. When the umbrella name of AMC was coined in 1938, this was the company which produced war ready singles for the British and Commonwealth countries. When the war ended, AMC took AJS and Matchless racing again, and the 7R with the AJS badge was the first to make an impact. Unlike the racing Nortons of the time, the AJS used a chain to drive its OHC instead of the shaft and bevel that the Manx used. It may not have been as technically advanced, but it was also less expensive to produce, and easier to maintain. This made it a favorite of club racers, and lead to the “Boy Racer” moniker.

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In 1958, AMC used the knowledge they had learned with the 350cc AJS engine and produced a 500cc engine and gave it the Flying “M” of Matchless. It became the G50, a hint to the 50hp that it developed. With its 496cc and single over head cam, the Matchless was able to reach in excess of 130mph. The extensive use of Magnesium in construction of the engine gave it a significant weight advantage over other racers and this helped to create a more nimble bike. It may not have reached the top step of the podium at the Grand Prix level, but it did fill out the start list.

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Though AMC stopped production of the G50 in 1963, an opportunistic Colin Seeley purchased all the dies and tooling from AMC for the G50. Seeley continued to produces some very competitive motorcycles, and Seeley G50’s are as sought after as the original factory efforts.  If you pick up this 1962 Matchless G50, and you end up needing spares, don’t worry, because what Mr Seeley started in the late 1960’s continues today under the name TGA Ltd. This will allow you to race your G50 for many years to come. BB

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Impulse Matchless G3L

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The picture of the Flying “M” has caught my eye over the last week, but I had never checked out the listing. This morning I saw it again, saw 12hr left on the auction and wondered what kind of motorcycle could cause an impulsive investment. This 1949 Matchless G3L is very well put together, and if I did not have control of myself, I could hit the bid button.

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From the Seller

Matchless G3l. Very nice older restoration, not perfect but it has held up pretty well. Very presentable. All painted and chromed surfaces shine nicely. Although there are a few minor blemishes. .. Recently I have gotten it back to running condition. A new battery (housed in an old looking Lucas battery) and a new voltage regulator. The electrics work well and the battery charges…..The bike starts easily runs great and stops when asked. Chronometric speedometer works too and shows 786 miles since the restoration…..One thing that makes this bike great is that it has low maintenance drum brakes and magneto ignition on a 6volt system makes this bike very easy to take care of. No worries about brake fluid or really even a battery because it will run just fine with a dead battery. I could see this bike being used as a pit bike at historic or vintage events. Just imagine rolling this beauty out of the trailer and cruising the event.

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Originally developed by Matchless as a war machine, the G3L had the advantage over the G3 as that it had Teledraulic front forks. With its 350cc engine, dispatch riders all over the world used the Matchless to get from point A to point B, weather it in the desert, the jungle, or the forests. It did such a good job that the British Army continues to us these singles into the 1960’s. After the war, like other surplus items, the G3L ended up in the hands of civilians, and became the preferred weapon in off-road trials competitions. 

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This 1949 Matchless G3L was produced before updated rear suspension was added the same year. The black finish was the color these post war bikes were painted, replacing army green. You only have 12hrs at the time of this writing to see if this war horse turned work horse will end up in your stable. How much control over your impulse do you have?BB

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1960 Matchless G80CS

The Matchless G80CS offered up on eBay is not really what most people consider a Sports Bike. But there was a long period in American history in which everyone was off in the woods riding. If it was a cost factor, or the fact that we always had more woods then roads, Americans have always wanted a bike that can handled the bumps in the (off)road. This Matchless can do that, and as the seller points out, hasn’t been really touched since new.

From the seller

The condition of this machine is highly original and un-restored.  The frame number and the engine numbers are  factory correct and original and the gearbox is also original to the machine. All of the numbers have been photographed and included in the photo section.  It is the 500 cc engine.  I believe I am the third or fourth owner from new and has a fantastic patina to it that can’t be replicated.

AMC is the British manufacture who owned both the Matchless and AJS badges. So when they offered up a new model, it was really two models. The Matchless badge bike had the magneto to the front of the cylinder and was called the G80. The AJS was the Model 18 and had the magneto in rear of the cylinder. Both were 500cc single cylinder engines that would create 28hp at 5600rpm. Though this bike has its patina, the seller appears to have taken it for a ride.

More from the seller

The Matchless on the road is very easy to handle, and rides down the road very tight, with no shakes, shimmies, or rattles.  It shifts and accelerates smoothly and holds the road as it should, even with the tires installed.

The Matchless and AJS had some evolution in suspension through its history. When it was first offered, the rear shocks were called Candlestick because of their appearance, but because of size and the tendency to leak, they were replaced in 1951 by the Jampot shocks. The final shock offered were by Girling, coming on 1956 and later models like the one on offer. As the off road motorcycle evolved, longer travel in the front and rear suspension were essential. It is always interesting to compare what our for-fathers road, and what the pros ride, and fly, today.

Matchless is one of the many British manufactures that can be considered the “also ran” makers to the giant Triumph machine. When ever I go to a vintage event, if I see a Matchless, or AJS, it will be the only one there. If you are an owner of either of the AMC bikes I am sure that you are very happy with you bike. You might hope to see more of your kind riding around. This G80CS will hopefully add to your circle. BB

 

1954 Matchless G9B

Matchless as a company goes back to the turn of the century, and Brough Superior used Matchless engines because they were the best of the best. This changed in 1938 when Matchless was consolidated with AJS to form Associated Motorcycle (AMC). The new company may have been one of the first major badge engineering firms because  the only difference between an AJS and a Matchless was the badges on the tank. This Matchless G9B offered on UK eBay is a “little” different then the rest of the AMC lines of those years.

The AMC motorcycle that had a winged “M” on the tank was the G9, and the corresponding AJS was called the Model 20. First offered in 1948 the standard 498cc AMC engine produced about 29hp and would move you along in the mid 80’s. What makes the G9B different is 50 small CC.

From the seller

Here is a rare variation of the popular Matchless G9, a G9B. This was a U.S. Export model and AMC’s first effort at increasing the capacity of their twins (to 550CC, by simply boring right out) The bike is basically original and unrestored. The magneto has been rebuilt and this makes the bike easy to start. It sounds good mechanically, doesn’t smoke and  has a lovely exhaust note . It rides well and the brakes are OK. It is quite high geared. The speedometer works and the lights and dynamo are all working well. Gearbox and clutch are fine. I imagine these export models may well have been breathed over by the competition dept at AMC, this one is fitted with the sturdy competition footrests.

US market was the life blood to the British motorcycle industry. When British bikes failed to sell in the US, British motorcycle manufactures failed. AMC wanted to give the US market what it has always asked for and tried to do this with 50cc. Those extra cc gave only 3 more hp to top out at 32hp from the original G9. The recipient of many of these bikes was the Southern California Dealer Coopers Motor.

From the seller

The bike has not been used much for a long while but seems to be all OK. These are confirmed by the AJS & Matchless Owners’ club to be the original matching numbers the bike left the factory with on 9th March 1954. Cosmetically the bike is in dull, ancestored condition. The tank has been repainted but everything else is original. The chrome on the tank is OK but old looking, ie with patina! All black paint work has dulled and is in poor but still usable condition. Wheel rims also are the original Dunlop items in good condition for age but have rust patches that spoil their chrome. The rims and spokes are both very sound and usable though. Exhaust system also has poor chrome. Front tyre is an as newAvon ribbed, rear is a very old looking but not worn Dunlop K70. This is a rare opportunity to own a slightly different even exotic version of the handsome G9.

 

Matchless has always been one of the “also ran” in the Classic Motorcycle community. Triumphs sold more bikes in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Velocette sold fewer and therefore are more collectible. Matchless and their brother AJS appears to have had a health market share, but as a collectible they seem to have been left to the side. This only means that they might become the next hot thing. So if you want to hedge some bets, maybe repatriating this UK eBay bike may be a good investment.

BB

Instant collection #2

Camano Island is going to be known for more then just the Barefoot Bandit Colton Harris-Moore after . Offered for sale are some of the best Grand Prix racing Motorcycles known to man, AS ONE LOT. Bikes that readers of both RSBFS and CSBFS have dreamt about owning, and now they can.

The first bike that caught my eye was the AJS 7R that heads up this auction. The 350cc bike was called the Boy Racer, likely because the 350cc class was called the Juniors to the 500cc Seniors. Developed by AJS after the war, the chain driven OHC engine developed 32bhp at 7500 rpm and would push the bike and rider to 120mph on the right track with the right gears. Between 1948 and the end of production in 1963 improvements to the engine were made, and a 3 valve engine was offered in 1951, called the 7R3 adding 8hp and 300rpm.

Part of the history of the British motorcycle industry, companies would combine but kept the marquees separate. This is the case with Associated Motorcycles (AMC) which joined AJS and Matchless. Having more then one Company under one roof allowed the 350cc AJS 7R to grow up and become the 500cc G50.

The Matchless G50 offered for sale in this collection is a 1965 Richmand/Kirby combo. The G50 engine got its 51bhp with the 496cc single overhead cam turning 7200rpm. Don and Derek Richman made frames for many different engines, and were able to sell them because they were good. Kirby appears to be a team that raced during the 1960’s in England. For better or worst, both the Rickman frame and the G50 engine are being reproduced today, using the original designs but with modern technology. 

The Norton Manx was another world beater during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Offered in both 350cc and 500cc over head cam engines, the Norton used its famous featherbed frame to dominate GP racing for many years. The bike offered in this auction has the 350cc engine, but also comes with a Dustbin fairing, that was banned by the FIM as a hazard to the rider. With the 348cc you would get 35hp with a top speed of 115mph, (likely naked). Again like the 7R and G50 the engine from Norton went through development over the years, but the basic overhead cam layout stayed the same.

This is a collection of three motorcycle, from three companies (well maybe 1 ½) who went racing in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and won. If you wanted to collect the best examples of the time, these three would be on a very short list. And if you are someone who likes to ride their vintage bikes, these again would put you in a very good position to win in vintage races.

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